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AmerisourceBergen unit to plead guilty in syringe program case

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(Reuters) — A unit of AmerisourceBergen Corp., one of the largest U.S. drug wholesalers, will plead guilty on Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge as part of an agreement to pay $260 million to resolve a U.S. probe into the company's pre-filled syringe program.

The unit, AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group, is scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn for a plea hearing. A company spokeswoman said it was related to a previously disclosed agreement to plead guilty in connection with a subsidiary's failure to register with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

AmerisourceBergan disclosed the settlement in August. The accord came amid an investigation it said began in 2012 related to the pre-filled syringe program run by Medical Initiatives Inc., a unit that ceased operations in 2014.

The investigation was related to Medical Initiatives, AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group's oncology distribution center, and intercompany transfers of certain oncology products, according to the company.

As part of the agreement to resolve a criminal investigation, AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group will pay $260 million and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, according to the company.

AmerisourceBergen said in August that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn also indicated it intends to pursue civil claims under the False Claims Act, which allows the government to recover taxpayer money paid out based on fraudulent claims.

The company at the time said that while it was in talks to resolve the civil claims, "significant disagreements" between both sides existed and it was unclear if a settlement could be reached.